Ferrari admits youngest driver line-up in 50 years 'is a gamble'

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto admits the Italian squad is taking "a gamble" by putting its fate in the hands of young chargers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, but insists the Scuderia wants to begin a new cycle.

One must hark back all the way to the 1968 F1 season, when Chris Amon and Jacky Ickx spearheaded Ferrari's efforts, to find a comparatively young line-up at the Scuderia.

Furthermore, the Italian outfit, which typically shied away from young drivers until Leclerc's promotion last year, has almost always incorporated an F1 world champion in its line-up in the past 25 years, with Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in 2007 representing the previous Ferrari pairing void of such a credential.

But Binotto has looked away from the past to focus resolutely on the future, which won't include four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"During this period, we've had time to reflect, mull over and reach this conclusion," the Ferrari boss told Sky Sports Italia. "We're pleased with our choice.

"The world has changed during this time and we have to look at the future of F1 in a different light.

"There's a new challenge that we must all embrace and we believe we've singled out the right person to complete our team."

"Carlos Sainz is a young driver and Ferrari haven't had such a young driver pairing in 50 years. It's a gamble for us and we're happy to be taking on this challenge. We want to begin a new cycle.

"It'll be a tough path but putting faith in youngsters is also geared towards that, not just for the drivers, but also for the mechanics. Sainz is a very nice and intelligent guy.

"He is a real team player and works very hard, so having him alongside Charles will be useful.

"He's done well over the last five seasons and has almost always reached the finish line, earning his team so many points in the process."

Binotto recently alluded to Ferrari and Vettel's differences in terms of the team's short and long-term goals as a reason for the pair's separation.

The Swiss engineer added that there was "a mutual understanding" of the reasoning behind the change that was made official this week.

"I think it was the right thing for him and for us," Binotto explained. "Only Seb knows what he will do in the future. He's a great driver and he'll make the right choice.

"He spent six years at Ferrari and the team has a special place in his heart. We have a good relationship with him, which isn't to be taken for granted when there's a parting of ways.

"There's a mutual understanding of the reasoning behind this change."


As for where Vettel heads next, contrary to McLaren boss Zak Brown who expects the 32-year-old to retire from the sport, Binotto believes the German's passion might keep him going.

"I think he's so passionate about this sport," he said. "He'll want to get back into it, although he'll have a few things to think about.

"I expect him to do very well this year because he's a great professional and we hold him in high regard.

"We'll have to give our drivers the ideal car to be able to perform at their best."

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